By Josh Davis, Associate Editor
(July 26, 2018) The first formal steps toward a so-called “Berlin Gateway” development could be taken by the Berlin Planning Commission meeting at its Wednesday, Aug. 8 meeting. at Town Hall.
Planning Director Dave Engelhart on Monday said the 6 p.m. meeting would include a public hearing.
“It’s for them to make a recommendation to the mayor and council about adding two parcels to Growth Area Three. These two parcels are at the intersection of U.S. Route 50 and Old Ocean City Boulevard, out past where the Delmarva Power substation is,” he said.
Engelhart said M&G Properties LLC, which is overseen by developer Ernie Gerardi, owned the parcels.
“The intention is, if they get added to the growth area of the comprehensive plan, to proceed with [an] annexation request,” he said. “That would be the first step, to get that recommendation made to the mayor and council that’s actually altering the comprehensive plan by adding them to the growth area.”
He said the parcels are zoned agricultural on the Worcester County zoning map, but the developer could ask for them to be rezoned B2, business district, Engelhart said.
“The idea being there’s some commercial development,” he said.
He added that date of the monthly Historic District Commission meeting, originally set for Aug. 1, was also moved to Aug. 8.
Gerardi and attorney Joe Moore approached the planning commission last month to reintroduce the project. The planning commission also considered a version in 2015.
Plans for the 18.65-acre parcels include a convenience store and farmer’s market, as well as a restaurant, auto dealership, 17,300 square feet of retail shops, and an 80-room hotel and 36-unit apartment building. Gerardi said he envisioned the development as a new gateway into Berlin, coming off Route 50.
The initial reception from the planning commission was mixed. Chairman Chris Denny and commission member Pete Crosby said they were in favor, while Ron Cascio was opposed.